Senator Rand Paul has become the second Republican to announce his candidacy for the party’s presidential nomination.  Five years ago, Senator Paul entered politics and, against all odds, got himself elected to the US Senate from the State of Kentucky.

Since that time, he has been one of the handful of members who advocate for the federal government to return to the rule of law and the constitution.  Senator Paul has worked ceaselessly for the cause of liberty in the face of constant attacks from not only Democrats, but from members of his own party as well.

Senator Paul represents a threat to the Republicrat oligarchy that runs the country, and as such the attacks from his own party have generally been the most severe.  John McCain, the party’s legendary failure as its 2008 presidential nominee, has called Senator Paul a “Whacko Bird,” and Lindsey Graham referred to his concerns about civil liberties as “ridiculous.”

Senator Paul has stood firm to his convictions in the face of these assaults from establishment power brokers; most notably making a courageous stand against government lawlessness with a nearly 13-hour filibuster in March of 2013.  The senator was holding up a confirmation vote on the Obama administration’s choice for Director of National Intelligence, to protest their failure to provide assurances that the president would not kill an American citizen inside the United States with his drone squadrons.  In addition to this specific demand, which was declined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Paul and others had grave concerns about the president’s personal kill list and how such killings were being carried out in locations across the globe.

The Good:

Senator Paul acknowledged that the American people have been getting the shaft from both political parties, saying “It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system are to blame.  Big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration.  And it’s now tripling under Barack Obama’s watch.”

Poor Lindsey Graham and John McCain must have choked on their porridge when Senator Paul demolished their entire worldview with this simple logic; “At home, conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution.  Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.”

Senator Paul made clear that he would put an end to the ongoing illegal surveillance of American citizens and other flagrant abuses of power, “To defend our country, we do need to gather intelligence on the enemy. But when the intelligence director is not punished for lying under oath, how are we to trust our government agencies?  Warrantless searches of Americans’ phones and computer records are un-American and a threat to our civil liberties.  I say that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business.”

Senator Paul additionally called for:

-       A balanced budget amendment to the constitution.
-       Term limits for congress
-       Economic freedom zones for impoverished areas such as Detroit
-       Clearly defining our enemy as radical Islam

The Bad:

There really was little bad in Senator Paul’s speech for those who respect the constitution.  One concern was the creation of economic freedom “zones” instead of abolishing the IRS and making all of America an economic freedom zone.

The balanced budget amendment, as I argued in my book, is good but not good enough.  Any such amendment would have to limit spending to a percentage of GDP to prevent congress from simply raising taxes high enough to satisfy its appetite for money and power.  Hopefully more detail will be forthcoming from the campaign.